Getting Results with Less Time
As always, when starting or changing a workout routine, be sure to consult a physician to ensure it is safe for you to do so.
It seems like our lives are more hectic than ever and it seems like finding time to take care of ourselves gets harder and harder to find. Plus, let's be honest, we've all been there; we have an awkward amount of time between two tasks where we could go to the gym but we're not sure if it is enough time, so we skip our workout all together. This is exactly where these tips come in! Here are a few things you can do to decrease your workout time when you need to.
Swap your stretching or treadmill warm up for a dynamic warm up
A dynamic warm up is where you take your body through a full range of motion similar to movements that you will be using in the workout. For example, leg swings, lunges, side lunges, and air squats for preparation of a leg day. Static stretching has been shown to decrease power output and also will not warm up your body and prepare you for the workout. Get the best bang for your buck with dynamic stretching!
Focus on lifting weights over cardio
Weight training should be the cornerstone of your workout routine no matter what your goals are. Not only does weight training build bigger, stronger, more resilient bodies, it also has cardiovascular benefits. Focusing on getting stronger and building muscle through resistance training will also increase your body’s ability to utilize carbohydrates, get blood sugar out of your blood, and store extra carbs in your muscle tissue. This, along with the metabolism boosting benefits of resistance training makes it an ideal choice when pressed for time.
Use compound exercises
Compound exercises are exercises that use multiple joints to complete the exercise. Think squats, deadlifts, presses and rows. These exercises use the most amount of muscle, allow you to use the most amount of weight, and will elicit the biggest muscle building and metabolism boosting effects. Best examples of where to make swaps: Do chin ups instead of curls, do bench presses instead of pushdowns, do squats instead of leg extensions.
HIIT it and quit It
If you are going to do cardio add in HIIT. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is a style of cardiovascular training where you interchange high intensity bouts of exercise with a rest period. This trains your heart and cardiovascular system to work at max capacity but also allows a recovery period so that you can repeat that level of intensity again. HIIT has been shown to boost your metabolism for hours after the workout with minimal time invested. The key is the intensity. You need to be able to push yourself to the max and because of this these sessions shouldn’t really last more than 20 min. You can get great benefits in only 10 minutes! An example of a HIIT workout would be to sprint as hard as you can for 15 seconds and the completely rest for anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute and repeat that for 10-20 minutes. As you get into better shape you will notice that you need less time to recover. Try it out next time you’re pressed for time.
Supersets are best utilized with opposing muscle groups such as chest and back or legs and shoulders. When performing a superset, you do an exercise for one muscle group and then immediately move to an exercise for the other muscle group. You then rest and repeat. This allows you to maximize your time because while one muscle group is working the other is resting and vice versa. For example, if you are pairing chest with back you can perform a bench press and then immediately move to pull ups. While you are doing pull ups your chest muscles aren't working so they are resting and will still be fresh for your next set of bench press. Try them out and save some time in your next workout.
Control what you can control
Life gets pretty busy. There are are limited number of hours in each day and only so much one person can do. You've got to learn to control what you can control and not worry so much about what you can't. There are going to be days when life gets in the way, and you won't be able to work out and that is ok.
Outings, shopping, cleaning, and much more, however there are things that you can control and that is what you should focus on. Trying to manage all the things you need to do can be stressful and stress is a killer for any health and fitness goal. Be sure to take time for yourself to do something that you know can help you to clear your head and destress. For the most part, you can also control how much you are sleeping. Without adequate sleep almost any goal is going to feel out of reach due to poor performance and recovery. Plan ahead and shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. It is easy to cut out sleep. I challenge you to make it a priority. You may just find that it not only makes your workouts better but your ability to deal with stress that much better.
You would be amazed at the amount of progress you can make in a short amount of time. Add all of these ideas into your workouts this month and see your progress soar.
If you have questions about a workout routine or would like to work with a professional, reach out to Marty at Zone 6 Fitness to schedule a free evaluation.